FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE AAU?
The Amateur Athletic Union was founded in 1888 to foster amateur athletics among young women and men. Prior to 1978, the AAU represented the United States internationally and regulated amateur sports generally. The AAU now continues as a voluntary organization largely promoting youth sports. It is one of the largest non-profit, volunteer, sports organizations in the United States. This multi-sport organization is comprised of more than 500,000 athletes who all share the same philosophy of “Sports for all, forever”. The AAU is dedicated to the development and promotion of all amateur sport programs and organizations across the nation.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AAU AND USAG?
AAU Gymnastics serves as an alternative league to USAG with no mobility or eligibility standards, therefore allowing more athletes the opportunity to gain a competitive gymnastics experience. AAU strives to maintain nominal membership fees for athletes, coaches, and clubs. NC AAU Gymnastics has established ceilings for meet entries fees, team fees, door fees, etc. all in the same effort to afford more athletes the opportunity to compete gymnastics.
AAU offers competition at the local, state, regional, and national levels. One of the biggest differences is that USAG offers deeper levels of competition with specific training programs for athletes aspiring to cross the threshold into elite gymnastics (i.e. TOPS and HOPES). With that being said, there have still been US Olympic gymnasts and NCAA Collegiate gymnasts who were AAU athletes at one point in their career! AAU truly is sports for all, forever.
NC AAU gymnasts also compete in ability divisions versus age groups so that gymnasts compete with other gymnasts of like-ability.
ARE THE AAU ROUTINES THE SAME AS USAG?
The AAU compulsory, xcel and optional rules & routines are derived from the USAG compulsory routines with nominal, various modifications to skills, equipment specs, attire requirements, and deductions. To read more about the national rules see the National AAU Gymnastics Handbook and to see the current revisions our state has adapted see the NC AAU Gymnastics Handbook.
HOW CAN I FIND A GYM THAT OFFERS AAU?
You can find the participating AAU clubs under the CLUBS page of this website. To join a team, you will need to contact the club AAU director and see what their team prerequisites and requirements are. Each club sets its own policies regarding team tryouts, fees, practice times, mobility and competitive standards. AAU does not govern these clubs except when they are participating in sanctioned AAU events. When looking for a new club, you should ask questions that would allow you to select a club that meets the expectations and needs of yourself, your family, and most importantly your gymnast.
HOW DO I IMPLEMENT AN AAU TEAM INTO MY PROGRAM?
There is so many ways you can implement AAU into your recreational or team program! Contact our New Club Coordinator- Hannah Mulvihill to gain some insightful ideas on the many uses of AAU!
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE AND HOW CAN I JOIN?
Anyone is encouraged and welcome to participate in AAU and we are always accepting new members. Memberships run from September 1st to August 31st of each year. Click on the “Join AAU” link at the top of this website to begin the registration process online. Refer to the “Registration Information” chapter found in the NC AAU Rules & Policies for more information on obtaining club, athlete, and coach memberships.
HOW DO I HOST AN AAU MEET?
For more information regarding meet director’s duties, AAU insurance, award guidelines, etc. refer to the NC AAU Rules & Policies and contact your District Gymnastics Director. If you are interested in hosting an AAU Qualifier, you will need to submit a completed Bid Form to the District Gymnastics Director by the stated deadline.
HOW CAN I COMPETE AT AAU REGIONALS OR AAU NATIONALS?
AAU Regionals and Nationals are annual competitions that are open to all registered AAU gymnasts that participate in their state championship. (Please note that each gym is subject to implementing additional criteria and standards to register for these events- contact your club director for more info). Gymnasts attending these events will also purchase and wear custom “Team North Carolina” leotards (and other apparel) at these competition as gymnasts compete as representatives from their STATE not their individual club. Go to www.aaugymnastics.org to find the upcoming date & location for these events. Refer to the NC AAU Rules & Policies for more info.
HOW DO I BRING A JUDGE INTO MY GYM TO HELP EVALUATE MY GYMNASTS?
Contact the NC NAWGJ (National Association of Women’s Gymnastics Judges) State Judging Director to find a judge in your area that is available to do some “in-gym” hours with your club.